Thursday, June 26, 2014

Co-parenting Caterpillars.

I am the proud grandmother of four darling little caterpillars, raised by a single father, Henry. 

Actually, the little caterpillars started their journey to adulthood with two parents... Jamie and Henry, but the co-parenting gig didn't work out very well and Henry felt that he deserved full custody. 
He won the mostly non-debated custody battle (based on the fact that he was the only parent who squirted water on their plant diet) and since only one out of four caterpillars died in childhood, I think he turned out to be a pretty good caterpillar dad. 
This cute little spikey fellow is a Common Buckeye Butterfly. 
He was adorable as a caterpillar kid, but had a very awkward pupae stage.
 I know…right?
These two rowdy guys chowed down on their milkweed plants and got really fat and sassy almost overnight. They were really cute but super committed to eating every last scrap of that poor pitiful milkweed.
 In this photo you can really see the feigned innocence but don't let him fool you…he totally inhaled the entire plant in just a few hours. 
Little stinker.
Ok I admit I play favorites…Stripey is totally my most beloved grand caterpillar. 
Here he is eating while upside down! Gorgeous and talented!
And check out his beautiful  pupae stage...
 Like a dew drop of precious.
And then the time came when the little guys burst out of their pupaes and into a big bright world of nectar and flight. 
Here is my favorite grandson, Stripey rocking his new look. 
And awkward no more, Common Buckeye is ready to fly off into the great beyond with his equally cute sibling butterflies. 

Fair thee well sweet butterflies n`ee caterpillars… thanks for the happy memories!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Letters to Camp.

Last week, Karl said his goodbyes to Jamie as he dropped him off at camp in Northern Minnesota. Actually I don't think that there were any goodbyes, as I understand it there was more of a "see ya" before he ran off to play dodgeball with another first year camper. 
Jamie will have a fantastic time, we are sure of it. 
At first he was excited to go to camp, then he got nervous, and when he and Karl left, he was both very excited and very nervous-which I believe is  the feeling before all big adventures. He will be spending a good chunk of the summer with other guys… some a little younger, some a bit older and the really old guy counselors who are in their early 20's. 
He will be doing lots of adventurous things... even going on a week long hiking and canoeing trip through the boundary waters and into Canada. 
I am very happy that he has cool counselors that will take him on these wilderness-y adventures...  if he was waiting for his mom to hike to Canada with him, he would be waiting a very long time.  

The camp is old school… no computers or electronics and all communication is done by old fashioned snail mail letter writing. 
This is the mail cubby that has replaced his emails and telephone conversations….Jamie's name on a mail square.
(I really love this) 
Jamie will be away until the middle of July. If you would like to write him a letter or send a post card, he would be thrilled to receive it.
Please let me know and I will happily forward his camp address to you. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day to the Men in my Life.

I am absolutely the luckiest person ever to have had the good fortune to share my life with three of the best fathers to ever to walk the planet. 
Mom and Dad at Anna's graduation ceremony…a happy day.
My dad is honest and generous and understands people better than anyone I've every known. 
He is fair. Very, very fair about everything.
He is the opposite of a snob and believes that everyone is equally important. He is absolutely crazy about all of his 11 grandchildren and loves all of them as only a Grandpa could. He is 100% supportive of everything that's important to me. He didn't think it strange at all when I told him that we wanted to adopt boys from Guatemala and opened his heart to Jamie and Henry. And then, years later, when I told him that we were hoping to adopt a 6th child, a little girl from Ethiopia, he stood behind our decision and welcomed Rosie home.  
In short, he is more than awesome and I am very proud to be his daughter.
Jim telling Rosie about one of the many times Karl got hurt and needed stitches when he was little. She was appropriately horrified.
I don't know if Karl's father Jim was ever worried about Karl marrying me, and I truly appreciate that it's a mystery to me. Instead he trusted Karl and thoroughly welcomed me, Anna and Mary into his life so many years ago. 
I will be forever grateful for kindness that he showed to me and the kids then and now. Jim is the best father in law I could have ever hoped for.  I love him for being such a great father to my husband, but also I really LIKE him for the wonderful person that he is to all of us. 
Karl and the boys on a helicopter ride… the boys all agreed that if I took them,  I would have definitely been airsick.
So happy not to be included on that adventure.
My kids are blessed to have the best dad ever and they absolutely know it.
 He knows each kid better then they know themselves and
can predict how they will behave in any given situation…bratty, sweet or a somewhere in the middle. His dad instinct is uncanny, he knows when things are a big deal and when they aren't, when to be tough and when to take it easy. 
I don't know how he does it, but I do know that I am very lucky to share this parenting gig with a man of such incredible dad skills.

And so in honor of the three wonderful dads in my world… I thank each of them for being there for both me and our six very fortunate kiddos.  
Happy Father's Day!